Thursday, August 03, 2006

Metaphysics


Trying to fathom the mysteries of the universe is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. ~ St. Augustine

I was asked today what metaphysics means. The answer isn’t an easy one, and may depend on who answers. “Meta” means beyond, so it’s basically those things that lie beyond or outside the physical world. It’s a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the nature of the universe - the study of being, or reality. It attempts to answer such questions as: What is real? Is it natural or supernatural?

You can Google the word and find the mathematical and scientific hypotheses, but I won’t present them here because I don’t understand them. I leave that stuff to people whose IQ’s are much higher than mine. I think science divides metaphysics into two categories: mysticism and the occult. Before anyone freaks out on me, no, I’m not playing around with black magic. The word occult actually means “hidden,” or “esoteric,” which is why I don’t automatically shun people who tell me they are witches, practitioners of Wicca, or pagans, because in most cases, what they mean is that they are attempting to live in harmony with the universe. I suppose some of them delve into the black arts, which is why it’s not for me. I don’t even want to get close to that, or have people who don’t understand it lump me in that category.

Mysticism is the attempt to know God, or The Source of the Universe.

Occultism is the study and practice of things beyond our normal five senses, which is broken down further into knowing and doing.

In the knowing category, we have intuition, clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, retrocognition, mediumship, déjà vu, and a priori knowledge. We don’t know how we know these things, but we know them.

In the doing category, we have psychokinesis, telekinesis, astral projection, remote viewing, lucid dreaming, ghost hunting, and the divining arts, such as astrology, numerology, palmistry, Tarot, and a host of others.

I believe in God for many reasons, but one of the big ones is that I can see order in the chaos of our lives. I see patterns which repeat themselves – shapes, numbers, cycles – and I can see how it all works together, how everything is dependent on another thing, how it’s all interrelated. To me, it only makes sense that if I am holding a book in my hand, that ultimately, there had to be a bookmaker. I cannot lie under the stars at night contemplating the vast infinity of the universe, compare it to the infinitesimal reproductive system of the damn gnat hovering around my head, and believe it’s all an accident. I didn’t come by my belief in God through church or organized religion. Two things slammed it home for me: being visited by the dead, and the study of astrology.

Those two things were enough to send me off on my own quest for the answers. I firmly believe, although I often find it difficult to accept when bad things happen to me, that there is a reason for everything. The Law of Karma makes it so. I have studied most of the major religions of the world: Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Islam, and a few of the primal religions. I have read their literature: The Holy Bible, the Kabbalah, the Bhagavad-Gita, and so on. I’ve read the obscure texts, too; the Gnostic Gospels, dead sea scrolls, Christian apocrypha, the Jewish pseudepigrapha, the Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead, and everything else I could get my hands on. The most interesting thing I’ve found is that there is one thing every single one of them agrees upon – the Law of Karma. They call it different things; the golden rule, an eye for an eye, do unto others, but they all mean the same thing. Even scientists who are skeptical of the existence of a Divine Being must admit it, because it’s Newton’s Third Law of Motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What we do, say, and think comes back to us eventually. If you get right down to it, I think God wants one thing from us: to love each other and to help and be kind to one another. If we all did that, there would be no war, poverty, or illness in the world. Unfortunately, I think it will take massive destruction of not only the earth, but obliteration of Mars, Saturn, and Uranus before that will ever happen.

My search of the metaphysical did not end there. I have read most of the Greek philosophers, as well as enough of Aquinas, Bacon, Descartes, Hume, Locke, Kant, Comte, Spinoza, Voltaire, Rousseau, Emerson, Thoreau, Kirkegaarde, Neitzshe, Rand, Foucault, Sartre, and Eliade, to get a decent overview of their beliefs. I’ve studied mythology, and astronomy. I have read about the Samadhi, reincarnation, the Secret Doctrine, the Rosicrucians, and teachings of the mystics. In order to know what I believed, I needed something with which to compare it.

As for the occult side of metaphysics, I’ve tried them all, with lesser and greater degrees of success. For me, astrology works best, but that’s just me. Your path may be different. Yep, I know I'm strange. But you like me anyway, right?

There are intangible realities which float near us, formless and without words, realities which no one has thought out, and which are excluded for lack of interpreters. ~ Natalie Clifford Barney



7 comments:

  1. Dear Southern Writer, Interesting set of blogs you've got going here. I'm going to have to come back when I have more time. I saw your comment on Steve G's blog ("Stinking River") and added mine there apropos yours:

    Don't our minds, though! Mine's a rat's nest. "Southern Writer's mentioning Tucson put me in mind of Ray Krone, looking out from the Yama prison exercise yard at the Mexican border, wondering how his DNA got on Kim Ancona's bra. A book about this will be published later this year. It's described at http://www.jinglejangle.us."

    I have to tell you, since you're a Southern writer: a neighbor down the street has a photo of Eudora Welty on his refrigerator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oops, I gave my wrong identity in the preceding comment. That's my work-related non-public blog. My personal blog is Moristotle.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Welcome Moristotle. Very cool name. I love the hook to your story. It totally works because I want to read it. I am going to go there, bookmark it, and come back to it when I can read both it, and Steve G's stories. At the moment, I am trying to finish editing a novel that is taking up all my time, and the distractions are too great and too tempting. I'm running far behind.

    Uh oh. Verification: texewkz Is that "text is weak" or "Texas weeks?" Hmmm ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have to thank you for your comment on Heat Wave. I've corrected my blunder and answered your question. Thanks for pointing it out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good morning, Southern Writer. Huh! I seem to make more typos the older I get (maybe it's a matter of not being able to notice them so well anymore?). Submitted a story to a magazine for a client yesterday and damn if I didn't misspell his name the second time I mentioned it! And, in my first comment, above, I misspelled "Yuma"!

    Got your e-mail too. Great to find another Bush detractor! There are so many of us, and the number is growing, expanding from the core who loathed him from the start of his "short [sic] but happy political life," as Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose said.

    Nice wordplay on the verification!
    Can't find anything intelligible in my "ucixpr"!

    Good on you, to overflowing cup.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sub offer on the blog for today only if you’re interested.

    As I’m on a week’s holiday and spending it at home, a game is also on offer if interest is high enough. You’ll need to leave a comment if you want a game to run this week. The game will run from tomorrow until Friday.

    #1.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for the invitation, #1. It's always a pleasure to hear from you. Unfortunately, I'm a little tied up at the moment, but if I can break free, I would love to come over and play.

    Maybe some writers who read here would like to try their hand. If anyone is up for a good critique of a scene you've written, or would like to try one of the many fun writing games the Crabby Cows come up with, go here:

    http://www.crabbycows.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome and appreciated, but spam and phishing are not. Comments containing links will not be approved.